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President on the Floor

Eisenhower makes unexpected stop at Fitzsimons Army Hospital

Desk in President Eisenhower's room at Fitzsimons Army Hospital
President Eisenhower's desk at the Fitzsimons Army Hospital

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, vacationing in Denver, went to bed Sept. 23, 1955, with what he thought was indigestion, but awoke the next morning in a hospital bed on the eighth floor of the Fitzsimons Army Hospital. He had suffered a heart attack and would spend the next six weeks in bed at Fitzsimons, now called Building 500, the historical heart of the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

Eisenhower’s condition was dire, and the stock market plunged 6.5 percent (to 455). The White House press corps relocated to Fitzsimons and crawled over water towers and drive-in theater screens in search of photo angles. Finally, a picture of the president on the sunny roof deck assured the nation their president was on the mend.

The hospital room is preserved today, the bed made up and a Jackie Gleason record on the phonograph. In an adjacent room, where the Secret Service holed up, you can thumb through the daily diary the agents maintained.

Tour information is available at 720-848-4070.



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